Sen. Kassebaum sees GOP moderates like herself no longer viable in Kansas

“How can we have a dialogue today if it isn’t even possible in the United States Senate?” Kassebaum said.

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State News

April 22, 2022 - 3:54 PM

Former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas talks about her Senate career, relationship with the late U.S. Sen. Bob Dole and erosion of a commitment to bipartisanship during an appearance at the Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

LAWRENCE — Former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum shattered a glass ceiling to become the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate who didn’t follow in footsteps of a male spouse.

The Kansas Republican went from Maize school board member to U.S. senator by winning the 1978 general election with 53% of ballots cast. She easily prevailed in two re-election campaigns with more than 73% of the vote before retiring from the Senate in 1997.

“I know full well I could not be re-elected today,” said Kassebaum, who spoke Wednesday at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. “It’s not that I’ve changed so much.”

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